JNTO wants to make Japan the ultimate destination for UAE tourists

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Updated 13 January 2020

JNTO wants to make Japan the ultimate destination for UAE tourists

  • Tourism body JINTO has identified the Middle East as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences
  • The number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million in 2013 and tripled within five years

RIYADH: As a travel destination, Japan is diverse and world-class, with 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a rich, modern pop culture.

The archipelago is more than 3,000 km long, with each prefecture and region home to its own unique offerings, including local culinary delicacies, crafts and festivals, to name a few.

In 2013, the number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million. In five years, this number tripled, meaning that in 2018 Japan welcomed over 31 million international visitors, translating to an 8.7 percent increase year-on-year.

Last year, Japan was ranked fourth in the world by the World Economic Forum for its travel and tourism competitiveness.

Japanese cuisine, shopping, hot springs and theme parks are among the principal attractions for leisure visitors.

Accommodation options across the country’s eight regions and 47 prefectures are broad, ranging from major five-star brands to ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns).

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is involved in a wide range of activities, both domestic and international, which encourage tourists from all over the world to visit the country.

Last year, the JNTO identified the Middle East as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences.

From the Middle East, the JNTO’s focus will be reaching out to and encouraging leisure travelers — including families, young adults, and those seeking wellness, luxury and authentic cultural experiences such as gourmet dining — to visit Japan.

The JNTO participated in Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market in April 2019, conducting numerous tourism seminars for the region’s travel trade professionals

Connectivity between the UAE and Japan is excellent, with Emirates Airlines flying direct daily to Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports and Osaka’s Kansai airport, and Etihad Airways offering daily direct flights to Narita Airport.

The JNTO further strengthened its presence in the region by appointing marketing and PR agency AVIAREPS as a representative to regularly collaborate with regional airline partners in conducting joint consumer promotions, advertising campaigns and ongoing marketing activities that serve to generate greater awareness of Japan’s attractions.

The JNTO encourages visitors from the Middle East seeking an authentic experience to not simply limit their visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, but also to use the opportunity to venture out to places such as Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa.

The JNTO is planning to renew and expand its official Arabic-language website this year to ensure that relevant, up-to-date information is made available to all.

The organization is committed to furthering its activities in the Middle East so that an increasing number of travelers can easily learn more about the touristic treasures Japan has to offer.

Daisuke Kobayashi is a senior official of the Japan National Tourism Organization in the Middle East.

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

Updated 30 min 3 sec ago

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

  • The meeting, originally scheduled for next week, was brought forward to Saturday

VIENNA: OPEC and allied nations agreed on Saturday to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to boost energy prices hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers of the group and outside nations like Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting out the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic. It represents some 10% of the world's overall supply.
However, danger still lurks for the market. Algerian Oil Minister Mohamed Arkab, the current OPEC president, warned attendees that the global oil inventory would soar to 1.5 billion barrels by the mid-point of this year.
“Despite the progress to date, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels,” Arkab said. “The challenges we face remain daunting.”
That was a message echoed by Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Abdul Aziz bin Salman, who acknowledged “we all have made sacrifices to make it where we are today.” He said he remained shocked by the day in April when U.S. oil futures plunged below zero.
“There are encouraging signs we are over the worst,” he said.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak similarly called April “the worst month in history” for the global oil market.
The decision came in a unanimous vote, Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei of the United Arab Emirates wrote on Twitter. He called it “a courageous decision and a collective effort deserving praise from all participating producing countries.”
OPEC has 13 member states, including Saudi Arabia. The additional countries part of the plus-accord have been led by Russia, with Mexico under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador playing a considerable role at the last minute in the initial agreement.
Crude oil prices have been gaining in recent days, in part on hopes OPEC would continue the cut. International benchmark Brent crude traded Saturday at over $42 a barrel. Brent had crashed below $20 a barrel in April.
The oil market was already oversupplied when Russia and OPEC failed to agree on output cuts in early March. Analysts say Russia refused to back even a moderate cut because it would have only served to help US energy companies that were pumping at full capacity. Stalling would hurt American shale-oil producers and protect market share.
Prices collapsed as the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes largely halted global travel. That also hurt US shale production, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump. But Trump welcomed the earlier deal, as US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette did on Saturday with the extension.
“I applaud OPEC-plus for reaching an important agreement today which comes at a pivotal time as oil demand continues to recover and economies reopen around the world,” Brouillette wrote on Twitter.
Under a deal reached in April, OPEC and allied countries were to cut nearly 10 million barrels per day until July, then 8 million barrels per day through the end of the year, and 6 million a day for 16 months beginning in 2021.
However, some countries produced beyond their quotas set by the deal. One of them was Iraq, which remains decimated after the yearslong war against the Islamic State group.
On Saturday, Iraq Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said in statement that Baghdad had “renewed its full commitment” to the OPEC+ deal.
“Despite the economic and financial circumstances that Iraq is facing, the country remains committed to the agreement," Jihad said.
Analysts had expected OPEC and the other nations to extend the cuts of 10 million barrels per day by one more month, but not longer, since the level of demand is still fluctuating.
“If the demand is great, countries like Russia will want to produce more oil, so they probably won’t want to get locked into a longer-term deal that may not help them,” said Jacques Rousseau, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners.